Welcome to your next installment of our Coaching Systems piece here in the 2020 Fantasy Alarm Living Draft Guide. If you missed the first installment, be sure to go back and give it a look as we define the different offensive and defensive systems and cover the four teams of the AFC East.

Once we’ve rolled out each division, I will compile them into an all-in-one, easy-reference piece.

Continuing on….

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

Head CoachJohn Harbaugh13th year
Offensive CoordinatorGreg Roman2nd year
Defensive CoordinatorDon Martindale3rd year
Offensive SystemRPO-Infused West Coast/Pistol Hybrid 
Blocking SchemeZone 
John Harbaugh -- HC    Greg Roman -- OC   
Category201720182019 Category201720182019
Points9131 PointsTE COACHTE COACH1
Pass Attempts111632 Pass AttemptsTE COACHTE COACH32
Passing Yards292227 Passing YardsTE COACHTE COACH27
Rushing Attempts711 Rushing AttemptsTE COACHTE COACH1
Rushing Yards1121 Rushing YardsTE COACHTE COACH1

Offensive Breakdown: The work Greg Roman does is absolutely phenomenal. Seriously. He continues to fine-tune an offensive scheme that produces Pro Bowl-caliber seasons from his quarterbacks and fantasy owners continue to reap the benefits. He did it in San Francisco with Colin Kaepernick , he did it in Buffalo with Tyrod Taylor and he did it again here in Baltimore with Lamar Jackson . The 49ers and Bills moved on from Roman once they changed quarterbacks, but Jackson is in just his third season and the Ravens are nowhere near looking at anyone else.

The system offers elements of the West Coast passing scheme to move the chains, but Roman does a great job of blending in the RPO (run-pass option) which allows Jackson the freedom to make decisions based off his defensive reads. Last season, we watched Jackson rush for over 1,200 yards on designed bootlegs and RPOs, but the scheme also begins with a heavy dose of rushing which helped Mark Ingram to over 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns. When pulled off successfully, the defense is on its heels and that enables Jackson to take his shots downfield.

You can expect more of the same this year with the likelihood of a few minor tweaks here and there. Defenses learn how to scheme against this offense, so expect Roman to have a few tricks up his sleeve. Jackson improved his completion percentage, going from a 2018 mark of 58.2 to 66.1-percent in 2019, so Roman is likely going to play around with some different looks for his receiving corps.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Lamar Jackson , Mark Ingram , J.K. Dobbins, Mark Andrews

Defensive System: 3-4 with both man and zone coverage

Defensive Breakdown: Martindale’s defense is predicated on pass rush and pressuring the quarterback. He likes to get aggressive with his blitzes and should be able to continue doing so given the personnel he has to work with. The front seven has been retooled during the offseason and the secondary is one, if not the best in the league and all of the members of last year’s secondary return.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Brandon Williams , Calais Campbell , Matt Judon, Patrick Queen

Cincinnati Bengals

Head CoachZac Taylor2nd year
Offensive CoordinatorBrian Callahan2nd year
Defensive CoordinatorLou Anarumo2nd year
Offensive SystemWest Coast Offense 
Blocking SchemeZone 
Zac Taylor -- HC    Brian Callahan -- OC   
Category2017 (LAR)2018 (LAR)2019 Category2017 (DET)2018 (OAK)2019
Rushing AttemptsWR COACHQB COACH25 Rushing AttemptsQB COACHQB COACH25

Offensive Breakdown: As we expected last season, Taylor, who spent the two years prior to his hiring in Cincinnati working under Sean McVay, rolled out an offensive scheme with a lot of the same elements to that of his mentor. His OC, Brian Callahan, stems from the same coaching tree, which actually dates back to Paul Brown, and the two have built a West Coast based offense focused on the short-passing game with some spread offense infusion. Both agreed that establishing the ground game first was a priority as well and implemented a zone-blocking scheme with pulling guards and tackles having more room to block downfield. Unfortunately, a rash of injuries to the offensive line hindered the progress, but if you watched the Bengals down the stretch, you saw a pretty good rendition of what things could be like in the Queen City.

Obviously, a healthy offensive line is going to be key, but with Joe Burrow now under center, you can expect Taylor and Callahan to work in more RPO, given the young QB’s extensive work in Joe Brady’s RPO-heavy system at LSU. Taylor is more than happy to adjust his scheme to feature the strengths of his personnel and the idea of Burrow and Mixon tearing it up on the ground is going to be a thing of beauty. Add in a healthy A.J. Green to join Tyler Boyd and either Joe Ross or Tee Higgins and you’ve got an explosive and well-balanced offense.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon , A.J. Green , Tyler Boyd

Defensive System: Multi-front with 3-4 and 5-2 looks; zone coverage

Defensive Breakdown: Lou Anarumo’s first season as a DC wasn’t all rainbows, lollipops and sunshine as the unit ranked 28th against both the run and the pass. The unit was transitioning as the old Marvin Lewis 4-3 scheme was being altered but also still favored by a lot of the personnel. Taylor and Anarumo gradually changed things last year with an infusion of aggressive, double-A gap blitzing, and this season, with a completely revamped defense – both scheme and personnel – this should be a much more formidable unit.

Players Who Fit the System Best: D.J. Reader , Sam Hubbard , Logan Wilson, Trae Waynes , Von Bell

Cleveland Browns

Head CoachKevin Stefanski1st year
Offensive CoordinatorAlex Van Pelt1st year
Defensive CoordinatorJoe Woods1st year
Offensive SystemWest Coast Offense 
Blocking SchemeZone 
Kevin Stefanski -- HC    Alex Van Pelt -- OC   
Category2017 (MIN)2018 (MIN)2019 (MIN OC) Category2017 (GB)2018 (CIN)2019 (CIN)

Offensive Breakdown: The big question in Cleveland isn’t “what kind of offensive scheme will they run,” as much as it is “who’s calling the plays?” The Browns will run a West Coast based offense with the zone blocking scheme Stefanski learned from Gary Kubiak, so expect plenty of pulling linemen and outside (wide) zone runs. The quick, short passes will help move the chains, but they will lean heavily on the run and allow it to open up play-action downfield. Van Pelt will serve as both the quarterbacks coach and the offensive coordinator so Stefanski may take control of the play-calling with his OC wearing multiple hats.

Regardless of who is calling the plays, the expectation is that this offense will be dramatically improved from last season. Nick Chubb is going to see a heavy workload early while Baker Mayfield learns how to be a more efficient quarterback. The run sets up the pass here, just as Kubiak taught Stefanski last year, but once that run is established, you can bet we’ll see a strong aerial assault, given the weaponry as Mayfield’s disposal.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Nick Chubb , Kareem Hunt , Jarvis Landry , Odell Beckham

Defensive System: 4-3 with multiple man and zone-coverage packages

Defensive Breakdown: New DC Joe Woods has worked with some top-flight coaches and defenses over the past few years, including his time as the defensive backs coach for the 49ers last season. He’s worked with Wade Phillips in Denver and he spent time in Minnesota with Stefanski on the offensive side of the ball. He’s been cagey with exactly what he plans on doing but given the personnel and some of the discussions in their virtual meetings, it is expected to be a 4-3 base with a lot of nickel and dime-packages.

You can expect Woods to be aggressive with his pass rush with a number of blitzes coming from all over. The defensive line has outstanding pass-rush specialists in Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon and, with the help of second-year linebacker, Mack Wilson, the middle should be clogged enough to work against the run. But the outside linebackers are probably the biggest weakness which is why Woods will take advantage of such a strong group of defensive backs. Woods is likely to have four or five defensive backs on the field most of the time with Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams handling the press-man coverage against top wideouts. The system is expected to be tailored for speed which will be great in coverage but could have issues should a bullish runner make it to the next level of the defense.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Myles Garrett , Mack Wilson, Denzel Ward , Greedy Williams

Pittsburgh Steelers

Head CoachMike Tomlin12th year
Offensive CoordinatorRandy Fichtner3rd year
Defensive CoordinatorKeith Butler6th year
Offensive SystemErhardt-Perkins/Spread Hybrid 
Blocking SchemeFlex 
Mike Tomlin -- HC    Randy Fichtner -- OC   
Category201720182019 Category201720182019
Points8627 PointsWR COACH627
Pace221524 PaceWR COACH1524
Pass Attempts6126 Pass AttemptsWR COACH126
Passing Yards3231 Passing YardsWR COACH231
Rushing Attempts153121 Rushing AttemptsWR COACH3121
Rushing Yards203129 Rushing YardsWR COACH3129

Offensive Breakdown: While the 2019 season was a disaster, the absence of Ben Roethlisberger under center is enough of a reason to not re-invent the wheel. The Steelers need to make a few tweaks, but Randy Fichtner’s offensive scheme will remain intact. If we need to categorize it, we can refer to it as a hybrid scheme involving elements of Erhardt-Perkins and a spread offense. For Fichtner, it’s all about personnel packages.

He runs 11-Personnel most often in an effort to spread the field with three wide receivers while maintaining six blockers up front in the run game. By stretching defenses from sideline to sideline and still maintaining a six-man blocking surface, 11 puts maximum pressure on defenses to police the entire field. It also allows a team put its run strength to one side of the field (TE) and its passing strength to the other (slot) which prevents defenses from loading up against one or the other. Not to mention, the limited pre-snap movement allows Big Ben a better chance to study and diagnose the defense.

Fictner will also utilize 22 and 12-personnel often (possibly some 13-personnel as well) as the acquisition of Eric Ebron gives them a third TE option alongside Vance McDonald and Xavier Grimble . You’ll see these more when the Steelers are looking to run the ball hard up the gut with James Conner , though don’t be surprised to see them try a few gimmicks in these formations as well. That’s the thing about using multiple personnel packages as it opens the options up even more and keeps the defense on its heels.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Ben Roethlisberger , James Conner , JuJu Smith-Schuster , Vance McDonald , Eric Ebron

Defensive System: 3-4 base with zone and man-coverage

Defensive Breakdown: The Steelers aren’t changing things up on their defense as it finished the season as one of the top units. The mid-season acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick helped solidify the secondary while linebackers T.J. Watt , Devin Bush and Bud Dupree blossomed into a fearsome unit. DC Kevin Butler will continue to oversee the linebackers while senior defensive assistant Teryl Austin keeps watch over the secondary. The two collaborated nicely last year and Butler will maintain their chemistry in the coaching unit while leading with his primary scheme. Expect them to continue with how aggressive they were with their blitz packages and look for another strong season against a tough AFC.

Players Who Fit the System Best: Cameron Heyward , T.J. Watt , Devon Bush, Bud Dupree , Minkah Fitzpatrick , Steve Nelson